Sunday Surprise

ef35c8744d8253cb93bc3dc034cd5ce7dd630abfI think I’ll have to start calling them Sunday Interviews. But since I know I’ll run out of interviewees again soon, I’ll just keep the title for this year. So, here’s another Wyrd Worlds author – it was an honor sharing the anthology with him! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Ross Harrison!

Where do you live and write from?

I live in Ireland, just over the border in the south (i.e. the Republic). I write from there, but mostly from my mother’s shop in Derry, just the other side of the border. I moved here twelve years ago, in 2001. It has been an interesting time to watch the city go from bombings every other week to City of Culture this year.

When did you start writing?

I started writing at a very young age, but I don’t remember exactly when. I just wrote short things for myself and for select family members. For some reason, I think most of those early things were horror-related. Gremlins in one, for example. A demon hunter in another. Slowly, the stories became longer and more open. I wrote about a team of soldiers. Then I wrote part of a prequel to that. Then finally, I started work on what began to become my first ‘proper’ book. I lost that through computer corruption, but I still have enough that I’ll go back to it at some point. After a while of feeling sorry for myself for losing that, I started writing again, and that new ‘story’ became my first novel, Shadow of the Wraith.

16686105What genre(s) do you write?

Science fiction, so far. Mostly science fantasy, but I have also written a steampunk short story and a semi-noir thriller. I am very slowly making my way through something completely non-sci fi, but I’m not sure what genre it is yet. And it may not be a complete work for quite a long time.

I intend to write some more thrillers and a fantasy series at some point in the future. I’ll wait until I’ve finished my sci fi series before I move on to that, though.

Where do you find your inspiration? Do you put yourself in your stories?

I’m not sure where most of my inspiration comes from. Usually a book starts with a scene, and then it comes to me as I go from there. I was inspired to write the semi-noir thriller while playing a game called Max Payne 3. The narration in that sparked a desire to try something with hints of noir.

I don’t put me in anything, but when writing a main character, it is hard to not have the odd characteristic in common. Travis Archer has a few of mine, more than anyone else. But more along the lines of what I might be like/do in his life and his position. So a different me, I suppose.

Do you have a specific writing routine?

No. I write when I feel like writing. I try to write when I don’t feel like writing, and sometimes that will lead to me actually feeling like it, but often not. There’s no point in me trying to write when I don’t feel like it, because nothing flows and no ideas come, and it will end up lacking. I can edit no matter how I feel, but certainly not write.

I used to find myself desperately wanting to write at just about the same moment I desperately needed to go to bed. Thankfully, now I write during the day and reserve the night for sleeping.

16059178Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

Up until now, improviser. Shadow of the Wraith, Temple of the Sixth and Kira were all written with only a vague idea of direction. As I said, I start with a scene and let it flow from there. Then I’ll get ideas for more scenes and directions which I’ll jot down. But there was no proper outlining or planning involved. The thriller was a little different. I started the same way, but at about chapter 3 or 4, I ground to a halt. I decided to give planning a try, and it worked out well. For that kind of book, it helped a lot to have all the plot points written down.

As for speed, the first two novels I sped through. They still took a long time to finish, but everything flowed very quickly and easily. With the noir, it was a lot more like hard work. I don’t know why, but there was a lot more sitting staring at the page and waiting for something to happen. Then nothing would happen so I had to make it happen. It was a harder to write, but that didn’t really take away from the enjoyment.

Tell us about your latest book

The thriller is my latest, but I don’t know when that will be published.

I’m also one of the contributors in a free science fiction and fantasy anthology. Twelve authors have contributed short stories of varying shortness to ‘Wyrd Worlds’. The anthology is available from Smashwords, in all e-formats:

My latest available novel is Temple of the Sixth. It’s the second in my non-linear science fantasy series. Theak failed as a private detective, but that doesn’t stop a group of gods tasking him with the galaxy’s deliverance.

16685795Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

Self-publishing is fairly hit or miss on the reader’s part, because anyone can do it. That said, some pretty bad stuff gets traditionally published too. But for me, self-publishing is perfect. There’s a distinct lack of pride to go with ‘yes my books are published’ since, again, anyone can do it. But I know that my books are not terrible pieces of work that should never see the light of day, and so it certainly beats having them sat in a slush pile on the desk of some agent who isn’t interested in new writers

There are pros and cons of both indie and traditional, but some of the pros that once existed for traditional publishing are fading away. For example, unless you become a fairly big name, it doesn’t matter if you get a publishing contract; you can still expect to do your own marketing. So really, the differences are becoming fewer.

I have no problem being self-published, so long as readers continue to buy and enjoy my work. That said, it would be nice to have just one book traditionally published just for that feeling of being good enough (acknowledgment, I think it’s called!). But that’s mostly an ego thing. I’ll settle for enjoying unexpected first book sales figures. I was contacted by an agent just before I published Shadow of the Wraith, as he had come across part of it online and wanted to read the whole thing. I had to say no at the time, but I did intend to submit my thriller to him. Unfortunately, he is closed to submissions now, with no reopening in sight. But rather than wait around for that, I will push on with it myself, with no disappointment or anything of the like.

So which one? Whichever. It doesn’t make a lot of difference.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

I am currently working on the third book in my series. This is the first time for a while that I don’t have multiple works on the go. Well, technically I do, but as I said earlier, the other one isn’t likely to see the light of day for a long time, if I even go back to it!

Aside from that, the thriller will be the next thing I publish. It is, as yet, unnamed.

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?

Like every writer there is, I think, I would like to be able to write for a living. That’s about it. That’s the goal, and to achieve that, I’m…writing. And improving.

Ross Harrison on Amazon UK, Goodreads and Smashwords!

16685795BOOK BLURB:

When omens of the End Times appear across the galaxy, it signals the start of a war between two immortal forces – the Celestians and the Hierarchy. The Hierarchy have learnt and adapted since they last waged war, forcing the Celestians to enlist the aid of mortals to free a kidnapped god.

Thardriik Jhunassi Kortlyn III – Theak – was a private detective. For a day. Then came the incident with the dead puppy and the inevitable end of his crime-fighting career. Despite his flaws, Theak is a clear choice for the Celestians, and he is drawn into the centre of a battle that will decide the fate of the galaxy.

Time is something the Celestians’ heroes do not have as the Hierarchy’s infection spreads across countless worlds, bending every living creature to their will. With the heroes’ every step bringing them closer towards one final battle, there is only one question: can they defeat an ancient and immortal enemy?

Buy links: Amazon, Smashwords

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